Wednesday, April 28, 2004

low self esteem

I've been suffering from low self esteem, and for any fellow sufferers I'm sure you know how it can take it's toll on everything you do. From tap dancing to filling out a purchase order I've been second guessing my every move I make and wondering what am I good at, anyways?

I'm sure this condition will turn itself around as quickly and as unexpectedly as it hit, and I'll look in the mirror sometime next week and say "oh, okay, I don't look like a troll". Or show up in tap class without the idea that everyone had a meeting after the last class regarding what a terrible dancer I am. But until then I have to rely on outside forces to get me through the day, I have to actively look for the positive things around me to remind me why I get out of bed everyday.

So far today I've depended on:
* the fact that I trained my cat to do a trick
* my fabulous sunroof
* the awesome power of Justin Timberlake's human beat box
* the man who opened the door for me today and said "Do drop in, won't you?"
* salad

Beyond those things I'm on my own, so hopefully this low self esteem business will blow over soon, because there's only so much salad a girl can eat.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

bathroom behavior

Let me start by saying: The Mystery of Irma Vep at Berkeley Rep - if you're in the Bay Area, a must see.
And I'm not just saying that because I used to work there.

Today I had to wonder what was up with the ladies room at work. It was like a lounge in there. Occasionally there's a conversation by the sink, which in my book is acceptable, but loitering in there is not okay.
I drink a lot of water, so I can really rack up the visits, and I have my favorite stall. Now I don't get bent out of shape when I can't get in there, but it does bug me when over the din of pee and toilet paper unraveling I am forced to listen to women in the stalls on either side of me chatting it up about driving their kids to sporting events. It's just not right. I can't explain it, but I somehow felt violated. Trapped in a stall subjected to minivan discourse. Perhaps I'm being prudish, but I just don't find a public restroom in the workplace to be the best place to shoot the breeze.
Later in the day I came across two women who seemed to be exchanging recipes right outside the stalls. I thought that my entrance may have some effect on the location of the conversation, but they remained right outside of the stalls, exchanging items from their purses, giggling and writing things down. The worst part is the obligatory greeting, and if the conversation is long enough, goodbye wave. Maybe it wouldn't bother me if I didn't actually know who these people were, but I see them everyday in the lunchroom, the parking lot, the stairwell. And I know that everyone needs to use the bathroom, so I'm not ashamed... I'm just looking for a peaceful pee.

Sunday, April 18, 2004


Alex just got home from a short trip to Walgreens to pick up some much needed sherbet. Along with the sherbet he made a purchase of some paper towels... we usually buy our paper towels from Costco, you know the plain white ones that come in a 60 lb. package? Walgreens paper towels just aren't the same. First of all the name brand is Tuf. Then you must consider the prints. There are 3 in this particular pack. One is light yellow tulips with some pink and blue blobs thrown in for good measure. The second is a rendering of a light green bow holding some sparse stems accompanied by the words parsley, sage, oregano, tarragon and thyme. On the last roll you will find pictures of pies which look like upside down baskets next to bright pink apples and cherries. As if that weren't bad enough it says "home is where the pie is" surrounded by hearts.

Who's idea was this? what's wrong with plain white? and how did we run out of a 4 month supply of paper towels and not notice?

Friday, April 16, 2004

oh Jesus

oh no, I shouldn't have had so much shrimp at dim sum.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

our vacation, day 2 into day 3

In May 2000 Alex and were married in Las Vegas, which is what made it an appealing stop off on our road trip. However, every time I go there I forget how sick I get of that place after about 3 hours. The Strip is a lot longer than I think it is, every time, and I always wear the wrong shoes. And the people, so many people. People who need to stop and look at something, people who can't chew gum and walk at the same time. I know that's what Vegas is all about, but for some reason I like to picture it differently in my imagination and then feel a sad, sad let down when it's the way it always was.

We stayed at the Tropicana by default. There was some sort of convention in town and all the nice hotels were all booked up. We were supposed to be staying in the Garden Room section of the "original" (a.k.a. two floors that look out onto the parking lot) hotel, but the woman at the front desk did a good job of convincing me that the for 10 bucks more we would be better off in one of the towers. 16th floor, here we come. The room was absolutely hideous. The bed had a headboard of mirrors that continued up and onto the ceiling. There was also a wall of mirror on the right side of the bed. and a giant mirror on the dresser directly across from the bed. Let us not forget that I was faced with all these reflections of me after the bathing suit debacle. how unfortunate.

After resting up in the magical mirror room for a bit we walked down the strip to the Aladdin. Alex heard that the dinner buffet was pretty good there and the hotel wasn't complete the last time we were there, so we thought we should check it out. We strolled down the Strip, smashing into other tourists and refusing cards with numbers of call girls. By the time we got to the Aladdin I had a big ol' blister on my right foot, all because I wanted to wear cute shoes. When will I learn; you can't wear cute shoes in Vegas unless you're planning to park yourself at a slot machine all night. We did have to wait in line for the buffet, about a half hour, not too bad. The other people in line were entertaining though. The man behind us in line was with his family of 5 and never uttered a word. He did, however, amuse himself by feeling up the 4 inch "jewels" which were embedded in the walls of the casino. I couldn't help but notice how he was fondling them and it was actually kind of creepy. He did it for awhile, until he noticed that I noticed him doing it. He then immediately stopped and started tapping and knocking on each jewel as if to indicate how sturdy each one was. He nodded in my direction and I smiled, in approval of the sturdy jewels. Alex asked me what was so funny and I said "keep your eyes on the jewels" and then he laughed, so I assumed he noticed, too. We finally made our way through the line, down an escalator and into another line where we could finally see food and a hostess. Jewel groper continued to tap, not fondle, all surfaces as he passed them. Alex and I were pretty quiet during our wait, but we were both chuckling. As we finally sat down to eat Alex asked me if I was laughing about the man in front of us, so I explain the groper guy, who Alex didn't notice at all, and then I asked what he had been laughing about. As it turns out when I said keep your eyes on the jewels Alex looked at the dude in front of us who apparently was playing with his crotch the entire time we were in line, while his whole family watched. I guess jewels would be correct term for that as well.

The buffet was pretty good, the best part was the dessert, but isn't that always the best part? After dinner we walked down to Treasure Island. Four years ago our extremely klassie wedding package included a video of our wedding, complete with a clip at end of pirates (from the free pirate show in front of the hotel) cheering our union. We thought it would be fun to watch the pirate show again. Luckily, a show was starting as we got there. Sadly, the show has changed. Treasure Island has changed. If you go the website you will notice how desperate they are to change their image. The show was so bad that we actually left half way through. What used to be a wholesome show with the British navy and a rowdy group of pirates is now a show with a gaggle of Sirens (who clearly worship Christina Aguilera) going up against a bevy of shirtless, oiled pirates who sail in on ship boldly called The Bull. The Sirens tempt the pirates and the pirates fight back, blah, blah, blah. The show is complete with horrible songs that sound like sorry rip-offs of Britney Spears' masterpieces and plenty of jokes about blow the man down, it's so wet, your ship is going down, etc. Although it was funny to watch, it was crowded and Alex and I were a little disappointed to see our beloved pirates tossed aside for these slutty Sirens, so we walked away. I'm assuming at the end of the show there's a big dance party and everyone hooks up.
This Japanese site has some pictures (click on the colored text to see more pics) to give you a better idea of the trashiness I can't quite put to words. I miss the Bucaneer Bay show. I guess I'm getting old. sigh.

It was a long walk back to the Tropicana, especially with cute shoe blisters, so we stopped off at the Bellagio to check out the water show and to play nickel slots and video poker for awhile. We lost 30 bucks and then headed back to our hotel. I think it might be a long, long time before we visit Vegas again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

dim sum sunday

it's been 11 days since I've updated ... alas I leave my blog behind too often. And I was on such a roll at the beginning of the month.
I don't want to get into details about why I haven't been writing, so I'll sum it up like this: on Monday my doctor and his unsteady disposable scalpel (accompanied by a pack of gauze pads) ended my bout with throbbing pain that ailed me for about 8 days.

So there you have it, with that out of the way, I will continue with my life.

On the Sunday before Easter RM treated me and Alex to our first dim sum. We went to Gold Mountain in Chinatown and I do believe we were the only white people there. I don't think I would have noticed right away, but the hostess was calling out numbers in Chinese and we were the only people looking around in confusion. It was pretty obvious to all around us that we hadn't a clue, because everyone who knew the drill (take a number and wait for the hostess to call it) was pushing us aside. And I'm not just saying that, I was literally pushed aside, a two handed push, one on my shoulder and the other on my hip, by a very hungry man who proceeded to get his number and seating before us. But not to worry because before I was even done quietly complaining about him the hostess called out our number in English (realizing we were the group who didn't understand the number that sounded like "Jose White" in Chinese) and we were on our way to deliciousness.

The food was swell and it's a good thing that all three of us like shrimp because we must have been there at the peak shrimp hour. I think we grabbed at least 5 shrimp dishes. It was hard to say, because we couldn't really understand what any of the people were shouting while pushing those carts around. We all agreed that the best item we consumed was the shrimp stuffed shrimp. Now before you think about how great that is let me add this, it was deep fried. That was the beauty of the whole thing; you have that crunchy shell in the shape of a shrimp, so you have a good idea of what you're about to eat, but you know there's something more... because no shrimp is that big. And that's the glory (and sometimes defeat) of fried items, what awaits inside that golden nugget. I don't know who thought to put shrimp within a shrimp, but it was freakin' brilliant.

RM was disappointed with the duck, because it was cold, but I thought it was all good. Except the black egg. I could have done without that.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

our vacation, day 2

Problem #3 on our road trip was another oversight on my part. I forgot my bathing suit. Even though Alex had reminded me and asked me over 73 times if I had packed it. It actually became a running joke before we left. About an hour or two into the trip while watching the road and re-packing my bag in my mind I realized I had not packed my bathing suit. When I told Alex that I had honestly forgotten it he thought I was joking. ha ha ha.

The real reason this was a problem is because I hate shopping for bathing suits. And unless I wanted to forgo the spa at the Grand Canyon I was forced to get a new suit. I don't know any woman who looks forward to a trip to a department store to scrutinize her cellulite under fluorescent lighting in a cramped space with someone knocking on the door asking if things are "working out in there". I especially abhor it. I bought a bathing suit in 1996 that worked just fine until 2000, when the elastic in the shoulder straps gave way. I ordered the 2000 bathing suit from a catalogue, successfully avoiding the dressing room all together. The 2000 suit wasn't too bad, as a matter of fact it's quite practical and borderline middle-age-y. Anything that's advertised as "tug free" and "Kindest Cut" for the upper thigh/ass region is okay with me, although I'm pretty sure those kind of suits are more geared towards ladies who are 40 and over. Land's End doesn't mess around when it comes to comfort, and I'll take that over fashion any day, especially when it comes to exposing more skin than I think I should. But, alas, the Land's End comfort suit sat in my dresser drawer for this vacation and Alex and I were forced to stop at a mall of outlet stores in Las Vegas.

For a Sunday it wasn't as crowded as I thought an outlet mall should be, but then again, we were in the desert. I reluctantly went to a store with only swimsuits straight away to just get the whole thing over with. But it was just the beginning of a long day of ego squashing. The women working in the store were quite helpful, perhaps a bit too over zealous. One of the employees correctly guessed what size pants I wore and then proceeded to point me in the direction of what I was looking for. I brought 5 suits into the dressing room with me. None of them fit. I tried on the first one, couldn't pull it up past my knee. The next one barely made it over my thighs. Another one cut off the circulation in my armpits. All of them confirmed how doughy and pasty I thought I was. I neatly hung them all back up, thought about weeping, but instead forged on. I gathered some more suits, some larger suits. I thought if I went for the tankini I would be okay, you can't go wrong with a tank top and something that looks like granny underwear for the bottom, right? Once again I got into the dressing room and found myself struggling to get these overpriced pieces of spandex and nylon over my thighs or rib cage. I hung all the new failures up, this time not so neatly. Who needs to go in a hot tub, anyways? I left the all-suit store, gravely disappointing the perky sales staff. Alex and I made our way to another store and although Alex gave me nothing but words of support I entered the new dressing room with knots in my stomach as I started the whole process again. No success. We moved on to the next store, same story. I finally told Alex that I was done, because at this point I was just wasting valuable vacation time by trying on suits and hurting my self esteem. I started engraving invitations for my pity party. We decided to leave the mall and think about a bathing suit later. Our car was parked closest to the entrance of the Polo store so we decided to cut through. While passing through I noticed a rack of pretty good looking bathing suits, and Alex encouraged me to try one on. He picked out the orange one.
Here's some advice for any pale Irish gals out there: never, ever try on an orange bathing suit. Especially if you are already in a bad mood.
I was in too deep to quit now though, I was going to solve the suit problem... RIGHT NOW. There was no way I was going to start this process all over again, especially on the Strip in Vegas. I grabbed 4 different sizes of navy blue suits. I went into the dressing room and started with the biggest size. Victory was mine.

As it turns out, when buying a swimsuit simply follow this rule - if you wear a size 6 or 8 in pants then you should just take your pride directly to the dumpster and then grab a size 14 bathing suit. Because that's the one that's gonna fit you. I don't know what these fashion people are thinking, but give a girl a break. We are at our most vulnerable when looking for swimwear, how hard is it to boost a some spirits by just making your numbers a little smaller? Had I known it was as easy as grabbing something that's double my size I wouldn't have taken so long bruising my thighs and ego trying to fit into merchandise.

We finally made it to the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday afternoon. We checked in at the Tropicana. And after all the sweat and tears I put into getting that damn bathing suit I couldn't convince Alex to go down to the pool with me.

Friday, April 02, 2004

girls' night out

I love Survivor.
But I will admit I wasn't too excited about Survivor All Stars... until last night. I don't know if Mark Burnett rigged the "pick a new buff out of the urn" trick or if he just peed his pants and wept with joy when Amber and Rob (Survivor's first on air couple) got split up onto different teams. That show got me so damn excited that by the time I watched the Apprentice I felt like I had run a few miles. Alex was worried about my blood pressure. Who needs exercise when you're pathetic enough to get an adrenaline rush from reality TV? Now I'm wondering if Mark Burnett sold his soul to the Devil. If he did I think it's okay, because Thursdays now rock.

I actually did go out and do something last night, instead of just sitting on the couch pretending I'm friends with reality television participants. I went out to dinner at Nizza La Bella with my friend Rachel. I always forget how much fun it is to hang out with other women. Most of my friends are men. I should never underestimate the power of chatting it up with another gal. It's very liberating, there's so much to talk about. Not to get down on conversation with men, there's just a different vibe. And something about going out and getting dinner with a girlfriend makes me feel like a grown up.

Thanks, Rachel, for getting me out of my TV rut and making me feel like a full fledged 30-something kind of lady.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

our vacation, day 1 into day 2

We drove a little more than halfway to Vegas on Saturday and spent the first night camping at Lake Success near Porterville. We arrived at the tail end of sunset and it was quite serene there; the sun had made it over the other side of the hills, a few boats were still in the water, a warm breeze... no sweater necessary. We started to set up our camp. Alex had the brilliant idea of bringing the Aerobed with us (because the Matrix has a 115 volt outlet) so after we set up the tent we pulled the car over, put the Aerobed in the tent, plugged it in to the Matrix and voila! Now were officially un-campers posing as campers. It was extremely comfortable and I don't ever want to camp without it, I guess I'm less outdoorsy than I've led on. (we were in a tent and did use sleeping bags on the Aerobed, doesn't that count for something?) We started a fire and were about to cook some hot dogs and that's when problem #2 arose (problem #1 being my temporarily lost, but actually washed wallet).

I was looking for the skewers and other camping gear and couldn't seem to find anything except the lantern and the single propane burner. I asked Alex where everything was and he told me I could find what I was looking for in the green backpack. What Alex had forgotten while packing the car was that at the end of last camping season we had re-packed all our gear into a handy waterproof Rubbermaid container. We decided to leave the green backpack for all things propane. I asked Alex where I could find the blue plastic container and he said "doh". Thus came the discovery that we were at a disadvantage, especially if we chose to do further camping on the trip. But we did have a cooler, a lantern, a tent, sleeping bags (and an Aerobed) and that was enough for now. So we used a Swiss Army knife to cook our hot dogs. We sat at the fire, split a Guinness and had a lot of fun melting some Oreos to see what would happen. They glow kind of purple if you leave them on the fire long enough. We also enjoyed watching the family across the road from us, there was a pre-teen girl who was working on some sort of pop and lock routine to a Britney Spears song which she mumbled under her breath.

As we watched the fire die down the serene lake setting came to a screeching halt. The campsite of hard core spring breakers who positioned themselves behind us began to blare bad music and crack open a bunch of cheap beer around 9:00pm. That continued until about 11:00, or longer, I'm not sure, because miraculously I was able to sleep. I woke up a few times around 2:00 or 3:00 due to the yelping of a young woman, but all in all it was pretty comfortable and warm there.

Alex and I woke up around 5:00am on Sunday and decided to pack up and hit the road. This was good for two reasons: 1. we now didn't have to pay for the campsite and 2. the motorboats started squealing around the lake at this time.
Off we went, stopping at a Denny's at around 7:00 for breakfast, finding ourselves under-dressed compared to the pre and post church crowds we encountered. Our waitress had gastric bypass surgery about a year ago. I know this because she openly discussed it with the perfumed woman sitting in the booth behind us. Perfume lady was only having a vanilla latte, while her husband and child ate eggs, sausage, bacon and toast. I felt sad for her. That Denny's had the best french toast.